Fashion takes center stage at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) as more than 50 sculptural masterpieces by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen make their Midwest debut this fall. Since interning for legendary fashion designer Alexander McQueen, van Herpen’s designs have been featured on the runways of Paris, Amsterdam and London and in the galleries of museums from Paris to New York.
Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, on view at GRAM in Grand Rapids from Oct. 23 to Jan. 15 will fill the entire third floor of the Museum. The exhibition features 45 haute couture outfits carefully selected from 15 of van Herpen’s collections designed from 2008 through 2015: 18 pieces from the designer’s most recent lines, a selection of her shoe designs and 27 works from van Herpen’s solo exhibition at the Groninger Museum, Netherlands.
In addition to van Herpen’s designs, a hands-on “touch material” section of the exhibition will encourage visitors to explore some of the more unusual materials she uses including translucent stainless steel fabric and structures made from the tines of children’s umbrellas.
“Iris continues to redefine fashion and its place in the art world,” said GRAM Director & CEO Dana Friis-Hansen. “Like most artists, she continually experiments and tests new ideas to realize her artistic vision, be that capturing the movement of water or the visualization of sound waves. That creative spirit is central to all we do at GRAM and we’re excited to share such a breathtaking exhibition.”
“Iris’s designs have been described as having a ‘sublime beauty,’” said GRAM Chief Curator Ron Platt. “She accomplishes that by melding design, technology, fashion and science in a manner that seems almost effortless but remains deeply rooted in traditional craftsmanship.”
Van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984) produced her first collection in 2007, shortly after graduating from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in the Netherlands. Born in the small town of Wamel, she is now based primarily in Amsterdam. In 2012, she became a member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture, where her designs regularly appear in biannual Paris runway shows. Van Herpen divides her time between the contained world of her studio, her global network of collaborators and the international stage of fashion.
Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands. The exhibition was curated by Sarah Schleuning, High Museum of Art, and Mark Wilson and Sue-an van der Zijpp, Groninger Museum.
The exhibition will be complemented by a series of presentations from special guests including Schleuning, who will provide anecdotes about working with van Herpen on the exhibition. GRAM members can take advantage of two member-only opportunities to preview Transforming Fashion before it opens to the public — a member preview party on October 21st and a member day on October 22nd.
For GRAM’s hours and admission fees, visit artmuseumgr.org or call 616-831-1000.